2009 Crosby Army ROTC Scholarship Awarded

2009 crosby army rotc scholarship
There are no words to describe the feeling of being in a room full of young American defenders, US Army men and women in uniform. These particular young defenders are members of the Embry-Riddle Army ROTC Eagle Battalion. There are 225 members of the Eagle Battalion, consisting of cadets from Bethune Cookman Community College, Stetson University, and of course Embry-Riddle, home of the Eagle Battalion.

The Embry-Riddle Army ROTC 2009 Awards Ceremony was held Thursday, March 26, and I was there to present the 2009 Crosby Army ROTC Scholarship to one worthy cadet. This year’s award was $500, presented to CDT Catlan Sardina.
There were numerous awards and presenters from gropus such as the American Legion, Post 17, Daughters of the American Colonist, Daughters of the American Revolution, US Daughters of 1812, MOAA, Military Order of the Purple Heart, AMVETS, AUSA and many more. It was such an honor to be a part of this ceremony. To sit there and see the young faces of our future defenders of freedom who were pinned with medals or presented certificates for their outstanding achievements in their mission was humbling.
I invited my friend Andrea, the RadioPatriot to join me this year. We were warmly greeted and seated on the front row along with the other presenters. I was given instructions on the presentation scenario. Time to begin. All the cadets marched into the room, single file to take their seats behind us in the auditorium. The Introduction, Invocation and Colors were Posted, then our national anthem was sung.

2009 sardinaI was the second presenter. Cadet Sardina’s name was called and no one appeared. Oh my! Where is he? RadioPatriot and I determined that something serious must have kept him away as he was so highly regarded by his commanding officer, LTC Clark. The announcer moved on to the next cadet. After about two presentations I caught a glimpse of someone entering the auditorium from the back. I just knew this was CDT Sardina. Sure enough, the announcer then called his name and he came to the front of the auditorium standing tall. I was 2009 roticannounced and walked up to face him (my back to the crowd). The announcer then told a little about the history of the Crosby Scholarship, and CPT Herbert C. Crosby’s final tragic flight on January 10, 1970. We smiled at each other and CDT Sardina said very softly, “I’m so sorry I’m late.” I told him it was okay and began to show him Herby’s dog tag that I was wearing. This was the original dog tag returned to our family in 2006. I wear it to all related events. I presented him the award, shook his hand and gave him a big hug.

After all the presentations were made I had time to talk with CDT Sardina, Catlan. Catlan explained that he was late due to a lunch meeting he had with his pastor. This meeting was about his future in attending the seminary so he could become a chaplain in the Army. I know my face lit big time. You see, I’m friends with Col. William (Whiz) Broome who just happens to be an active-duty Army Chaplain, and recently the Pentagon Chaplain at that. I knew Whiz would be able to assist Catlan so I told him all about Whiz. I knew I had calls and emails to make to connect these two. Whiz was very pleased to hear this news and more than willing to help.

sardinaCadet Sardina told me he wants to fulfill his mission in Infantry first, then possibly go into Special Forces, and then become a chaplain. He feels this is his calling and he is devoted to it. He’s Commander of the Officers Christian Fellowship Space Coast Chapter where he’s doing tremendous things for our troops in Iraq. His degree is in Mechanical Engineering. Cadet Sardina was the Battalion Commander from August 2008 to January 2009, he has been part of the Ranger Challenge Team for three years He received the Superior Cadet award in 2006 and received this award again for 2009 during the ceremony on Thursday. Catlan has completed Airborne school, Mountain Warfare training and Northern Warfare training.
Cadet Sardina will graduate and be commissioned on May 2. He will then be transferred to Alaska to report to duty. I hope to be able to attend his commissioning. Will keep you posted.
I had the pleasure to meet such a wonderful young man who has dreams that I know he will accomplish. I have his email address that will stay with him throughout his career so I hope to keep in touch.
I also have recently heard from now 2LT Benjamin Boxler, 2008 recipient of the Crosby Scholarship. He’s currently stationed at Fort Stewart, Georgia and is working alongside a military police unit. He is also getting married soon. He wrote me these wonderful words:

“I cannot say enough how honored I am to have received the initial scholarship on behalf of CPT Crosby. The award and ceremony were very special to me, as well as a VERY exciting moment for my family and fiancee. One thing that me struck as most amazing was reading the letters home from CPT Crosby. His actions demonstrated the duty that the Army continues to teach to every Soldier to this day. But the personal commitment that I read in those letters truly hit home as
a Junior officer. You could almost feel the excitement in anticipation of the mission from what he wrote.
I hope that the next cadet that receives this award can benefit as much as I have from CPT Crosby’s story. I hope that the tradition continues with the Embry-Riddle ROTC program and you and your family continue to enjoy good health and wellness.”

Early Thursday morning as I was walking back into our house from picking up the morning newspaper I was gazing at the stars (was still dark outside). All of a sudden a shooting star came whizzing directly over my head. It was very low, large and appeared to have a smaller star following in it’s path. I said to myself, “Flamingo girl, this is going to be a good day.” It certainly was.
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